Volume II, Number 25. 15 December 2020.

Rodrigo Duterte echoed the wishes of his military minions and US masters last week, “There will be no ceasefire ever again under my term… Ceasefire is dead.” He must be repeating himself, right? These late-night ramblings of an opiate-doped chief executive isn’t really news.

As early as three years ago, in November 2017, he already made this official with his aptly numbered and titled Proclamation 360, “Declaring the termination of peace negotiations with the National Democratic Front – Communist Party of the Philippines – New People’s Army.” The following month, three years ago, he designated the CPP and the NPA as ‘terrorists’.

Armed with the Anti-Terrorism Law, however, the Duterte government is now officially targeting opposition parliamentarians, opposition political parties, cause-oriented groups, journalists and human rights defenders, who will shortly be designated as ‘terrorists’. Not being able to defeat the armed revolutionary movement, Duterte will take aim at the unarmed and legal opposition groups. Their organizations will be outlawed, they will be hunted down, arrested and, based on the formula of Duterte’s security officials, gunned down ‘while resisting arrest’.

Duterte critics = terrorists = incarceration or death. There is no space for democratic discourse, no space for respecting civil and political rights, no more room for peace under the Duterte regime.

Our hopes for a just and lasting peace must then rest on uniting in greater numbers, facing greater challenges and sacrifices and fighting more resolutely to see an end to the tyrannical regime.